Iowa men's basketball team stops workouts after two players test positive for COVID-19

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Two Iowa men's basketball players tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday and the team will cease workouts for two weeks, the university announced Tuesday.

It became the first Hawkeye sport to have to shut down since football players reported to campus for voluntary workouts that began June 8. Iowa had announced Monday that only one of 20 tests for the new coronavirus administered in its athletics department from July 20-26 had come back positive.

Iowa men's basketball coach Fran McCaffery and his staff were allowed to be on the court with players for the first time July 20. Coaches were wearing masks and were distancing themselves from the athletes, Iowa point guard Joe Toussaint told the Register last week.

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Iowa's typical starting five last season could all be back in 2020-21: From left, Connor McCaffery, Joe Wieskamp (10), Joe Toussaint (1), CJ Fredrick and Luka Garza. Plus, another 121 games of starting experience is definitely returning with Jordan Bohannon and Jack Nunge.

It is unclear how often, or in what circumstances, an athlete is tested at Iowa. The athletic department had reported 27 positive tests as of July 26, but those include athletes, coaches and staff members. At that point, 533 total tests had been administered.

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz said at a July 16 news conference that some of his players had been among the positive tests, but none severe enough to require hospitalization. The football team has transitioned from voluntary to mandatory workouts without any large-scale disruptions.

But 15 FBS programs have announced this summer that there were COVID-19 outbreaks on a large enough scale to cause workouts to be halted. Currently, Michigan State and Rutgers are among schools whose football programs are on a forced hiatus.  

At Iowa, the protocol is for medical staff to begin contact tracing for anyone who tests positive, to isolate those who do and to quarantine anyone who might have been exposed to them.

Mark Emmert covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Register. Reach him at or 319-339-7367. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkEmmert.